Bigeye Bomb:

Unresolved Developmental Issues

PEMD-89-27: Published: Aug 11, 1989. Publicly Released: Aug 11, 1989.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided unclassified information on the Department of Defense's (DOD) report on the Bigeye Bomb, a chemical weapon.

GAO found that DOD: (1) did not adequately test Bigeye for pressure buildup, since it only conducted one test; (2) changed a requirement concerning the time it took the weapon to generate the lethal agent, without explaining the change to Congress; (3) also changed a purity requirement for the lethal agent; (4) may not have adequately tested Bigeye's ability to generate the lethal agent, since it deemed several failures to be non-tests; (5) may not be able to predict the lethal agent's biotoxicity based solely on its purity; (6) did not adequately test for premature burning of the lethal agent, because it did not design the tests to detect such burning and surrounded the test weapon with fire-suppressant material; (7) incorrectly estimated the system's overall reliability, since it based its estimates on the flawed tests; and (8) did not obtain sufficient information on the lethal agent's persistence under varied environmental conditions.

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